Amazon is announcing that it’s adding Alexa to its Ring Video Doorbell Pro, giving it the ability to talk to people when they come to your house. The feature is called Alexa Greetings, and requires that you have a Ring Protect subscription, which starts at $3 a month. If you do, Alexa can ask your visitors what they want, and they can choose to leave a video recording as a message. If they’re a delivery person, Alexa will be able to tell them where to leave the packages — assuming the delivery person is willing to talk to your robotic doorbell.
Beyond automating the process of taking video messages and directing deliveries, it’s unclear if Alexa will bring any additional functionality.
The company is also announcing a Quick Replies feature, which should work on most of its doorbells without needing that subscription (though the company’s cheapest doorbell, the $60 Ring Video Doorbell Wired, isn’t getting that feature either). The feature lets you choose a canned response such as “we can’t answer the door right now, but if you’d like to leave a message, you can do it now” or “please leave the package outside. If you’d like to leave a message, you can do it now.” Of course, there are also replies that let the person standing at your door know that you’ll be there in just a minute.
Lastly, Amazon is also bringing a motion warning to some of its doorbells and cameras, which will audibly tell anyone around that Ring is recording if it detects motion.
All the new features can be turned on or off in the Ring app, so if you don’t want Alexa answering the door for you, you can simply not enable the feature. Also, if we’re adding new features to the Ring doorbells, it would be great to see a touchless doorbell function added (especially since most of these these new features require actually pressing the button).
The announcements come at a time when the company is both receiving criticism for working with police to provide footage captured by Ring cameras, and attempting to increase the cameras’ appeal to privacy-centric users by testing end-to-end encryption support.